One of the more common questions that we get asked in our centres is if wheel balancing and wheel alignment are two terms used to describe the same thing. After all, they sound very similar and both aid the long-term health of your tyre. Balancing and alignment are in fact two very different practices and whereas balancing addresses the distribution of weight around the wheel, alignment looks at the position of the wheels in relation to the road and each other. It’s easy to confuse the two, so here’s a closer look at each one and the benefits this can bring to you and your car Wheel balancing ensures that weight is distributed equally around the wheel and that the tyre rotates evenly. This involves adding small balancing weights to the rim which counter weight inconsistencies. If you imagine a set of balancing scales, when you add a heavy weight to one side the scales will tip. If you then add a number of smaller, less heavy items to the other side, the scales will gradually begin to tilt the more you add until finally, when you have added enough smaller weights, the scales will once again level out. Add too many weights and the scales will tip the other way. Although this is a simpler example, wheel balancing works in the same way and if an imbalance towards one side of the wheel is identified, wheel weights are added to the opposite side to even out the distribution of weight. It’s important to address wheels that are not correctly balanced to ensure you receive the best ride comfort. Incorrectly balanced wheels produce a vibration that is felt through the steering wheel when travelling above a certain speed that can cause considerable discomfort over time. What’s more, balance issues can cause premature wearing of your tyres, suspension and steering components.